A new school year is here, and if you are new to Spanish Schoolhouse and language immersion, you may have a few (or many!) questions about your little one’s upcoming school year. Here are a few frequently asked questions and answers that we hope will help!
My child doesn’t speak any Spanish. Won’t he/she be confused?
This is perhaps the most common question! Our program is designed for English-speaking children (though we do have some students with a Spanish background), so we plan for a transition period. We start the school year speaking both English and Spanish for approximately two weeks, so that the children get to know their teachers, begin to feel comfortable, and learn the classroom rules and expectations. After this period, a smooth transition to Spanish-only will be easy and fun for them.
To help children feel comfortable and confident, our teachers “act out” what they are saying and use visual materials as cues. The kids love this and love to join in. In the transition stage, if a teacher doubts that a child understands something, she will briefly explain in English and then continue in Spanish, to be sure that no child is “lost” or “confused.” You will be surprised at how quickly they understand! We are here to encourage the love of the Spanish language and will ensure that our students feel comfortable and secure in our school environment.
What is the daily schedule like in the classroom?
Each classroom schedule will differ slightly, but you will find all the same elements in your child’s day: Morning Activity, Circle Time/Yoga, Language/Math/Science, Music and Movement (for gross motor development), Art, Recess, Lunch/Rest, Fine Motor/Handwriting Without Tears®, and Learning Centers. Three and Four-year-olds will have a 30 minute English class per day. Individual Class Schedules will be posted in your child’s classroom and on the Parent’s Information Board in the school.
Our weekly and monthly themes guide the Circle Time, and help students explore the world around them. Cultural concepts and activities are woven into our curriculum, and traditional Latin music and dance play an important role in the learning process. For more details, attend our Grade Level Meetings within the first few weeks of school where we will share curriculum information, and you may ask specific questions.
How long will it take my child to begin speaking Spanish?
All children develop and learn at different rates. In general, the pattern is similar to how the child learned his first language. During the first year, the child builds a base of vocabulary, learns the patterns of the language, and understands 80-100% of the spoken language. He may begin using single words and short phrases, and will likely sing the songs he has learned in school.
During the second year, children add vocabulary and begin to use the language naturally, responding and participating in class in Spanish. After two to three years of exposure, they typically begin to think in Spanish without translation, communicate their thoughts, and carry on conversations in Spanish with a native accent.
What do I need to bring to school?
All school supplies are provided by Spanish Schoolhouse, so there is no need to bring any.
Forms – Please be sure to bring all required forms by your child’s first day of school. Click here for forms.
Lunch – Each student will need to bring a lunch each day. We cannot heat or refrigerate food, so please send an ice-pack or thermos for foods that need to be kept cold or hot. SSH provides a morning snack each day, and for those students in Stay and Play care, an afternoon snack is provided as well.
Water Bottle – Students will need to bring a spill-proof (sport-top) water bottle or sippy cup each day. Especially in the hot months, we want to make sure all children are well hydrated!
Nap Mat – All preschool students have a rest time, so will need a nap mat. We recommend the plastic folding mats found at Target, Wal-Mart, etc. for hygienic reasons. They can bring a small blanket or stuffed animal, if they’d like. Please label all items with their name. Threes and Fours will have a 25-30 minute rest time. Twos will have around 90 minutes.
Extra Clothes – Each child should have a seasonally appropriate change of clothes in their backpack in case of spills or accidents. These do not need to be uniform-compliant.
Smiles! Lastly, please bring your smile and your positive attitude! Children notice and take cues from the way their parents react to situations. The smoothest adjustments to a new school happen when the parents talk positively about it in advance, and help a children know that they will be well cared for and have fun until Mommy or Daddy returns.
How will I know how my child is doing?
We will provide daily verbal feedback on your child’s day at pick up, and you’ll receive a written note for any incidents or accidents that you should be aware of. Of course, you are always welcome to ask your child’s teacher any questions that you have. For longer questions, we ask that you schedule an appointment time so that we can have alternate coverage in the classroom.
Because this is the first school experience for many children, we also hold October conferences, so that you can sit down with your child’s teacher and hear more details about how they are adjusting to the school year. We offer Progress Reports in October, and again in January and May. Conferences in January and May are optional.
How do you handle allergies/medicine in the school?
Classrooms may be made peanut-free or nut-free, based on the severity of a child’s allergies. If your child has a life-threatening allergy, we ask for detailed, written instructions from the parent or physician. Medications will be kept in the office (must be in the original container with the prescription label), and parents must sign a medication authorization form. Any other medications, prescription or over-the-counter, may be kept at the school, and be dispensed per the medication authorization form. They must be in the original container, with your child’s name on it.
What are Periquito Azul days?
Periquito Azul is our school mascot, and on two designated days per month, we celebrate him with a special activity. On these days, uniforms are optional. Sometimes we’ll have a special dress-up day, or a party on these days! Each month’s calendar will have all the details, and you can also watch for weekly email reminders and our monthly newsletter with more info, as well.
Wow, there is so much to learn, but you’ll feel like an old pro in no time. We have a lot of additional information on our website, so click here if you’d like more information, Our office staff is also happy to help with questions at any time. We’d like to welcome you once again to the Spanish Schoolhouse family! Congratulations on giving your child the gift of a second language!